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Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 1:53pm

Officials Demand Progress On Jekyll Island

A developer has been delaying construction of two new hotels scheduled to open on Jekyll Island next year.

The 2012 timeline has some critics wondering if big plans aren't proving "too big" for the coast's state-run tourist destination.

Jekyll Island is revitalizing to keep visitors coming.

Island officials are on-schedule to open a new, state-financed convention center in 2012.

But a private firm is having recession-related trouble financing two nearby hotels.

David Egan of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island says, the delays will mean tourists go elsewhere.

"It knocks two hotels -- several hundred rooms -- out of the lodging stock now for five or six years," Egan says. "And that's something that has a bad impact on visitors and a bad impact on revenues."

Meanwhile, island officials say, they're sticking to their schedule and booking conventions.

Jekyll Island Authority spokesman Eric Garvey says, they've told the developer, they want to see progress by June or else they'll find another partner.

"They are meeting all their obligations at this point," Garvey says. "They agreed to that timeline and we expect them to follow through with their agreement."

The delays in the hotels are the latest challenge facing a massive effort to remake Jekyll Island.

So far, officials only have been able to finish either smaller or government-backed projects in the revitalization.